Thursday, June 30, 2016

Kenneth Samples on Objective Moral Values

"Objective moral values are logically incompatible with all forms of ethical relativism, including naturalistic, atheistic, evolutionary theory. Ethical relativism is incoherent and cannot serve as an acceptable moral theory.  In  the the absence of a morally perfect, personal God morality can only be conventional, arbitrary, and subjective in nature.

Objective ethical principles do exist, but they cannot exist in a metaphysical vacuum.  What is morally good [ethical] cannot be separated from what is real [metaphysical] and what is true [epistemological].  But atheism has no foundation upon which to ground man's conscious awareness of moral obligation.  Without God, objective moral values have no metaphysical anchor and thus cannot be accounted for.

Unlike secular attempts to account for morality, the ethics of Christian theism are grounded in the morally perfect nature of God who has specifically revealed his will to mankind.  God is therefore the source and foundation for objective moral values.  Absolute moral law extends from the cosmic moral Lawgiver.  The God revealed in the Judeo-Christian Scriptures is the morally perfect person who stands behind the objective moral order discovered in the universe."1

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
1. Kenneth Samples, Without a Doubt, p. 26-27.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Argument from Sehnsucht (Longing)

Here is another interesting argument for life after death from Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli's Pocket Handbook of Christian Apologetics:

Major premise: Every natural, innate desire in us-as distinct from artificial and conditioned desires-corresponds to a real object which can satisfy that desire. If there is hunger, there is food; if thirst, drink; if eros, sex; if curiosity, knowledge; if loneliness, society.  It would be surpassing strange if we found creatures falling in love in a sexless world.

Minor premise: There exists in us one desire that nothing in this life can satisfy, a mysterious longing (Sehnsucht) that differs from all others in that its object is undefinable and unattainable in this life.

Although we do not clearly understand exactly what it is that we want, we all do in fact by our nature want paradise, heaven, eternity, the divine life.  Augustine said, 'Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee'-even if we don't know who or what 'Thee' is.  Something deep in our souls is not satisfied with this whole world of time and mortality.

Conclusion: Therefore this 'more'-eternal life-exists.  Complaint about anything shows that there must be an alternative, something more and better.  We do not complain about being, or about 2 + 2 making 4.  But we complain about pain and ignorance and poverty.  We also complain about time; there is never enough of it-even now, and certainly when we are dying.  We want more than time; we want eternity.  Therefore there must be eternity.  We complain about this world.  It is never good enough.  Therefore there must be another world that is good enough.  We may not attain it, just as we may die of starvation.  But the innate hunger for it proves that it exists, just as the innate hunger for food proves that food exists.1

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad


Footnote:
1. Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, Pocket Handbook of Apologetics, p. 93-94. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Video: Shattering the Icons of Evolution by Tim Barnett


In this video Tim Barnett of Stand to Reason challenges many of the standard evidences offered by those arguing in favor of Darwinism.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad




Monday, June 27, 2016

Nine Rules of Logic

Below are the nine rules of inference required to carry out the reasoning governed by sentential or propositional logic.  This is the most basic level of logic which deals with inferences based on sentential connectives like "if..., then," "or" and "and."

Rule #1:  modus ponens

1. P implies Q
2. P
_____________              
3. Q

Example:

1. If John studies hard, then he will get a good grade in logic.
2. John studies hard
_____________
3. He will get a good grade in logic.

Rule #2:  modus tollens

1. P implies Q
2. Not Q
_____________        
3. Not P

Example:

1. If Joan has been working out, then she can run the 5 K race.
2. She cannot run the 5 K race.
_____________
3. Joan has not been working out.

Rule #3:  Hypothetical Syllogism

1. P implies Q
2. Q implies R
_____________
3. P implies R

Example:

1. If it is Valentine's Day, Guillaume will invite Jeanette to dine at a fine restaurant.
2. If Guillaume will invite Jeanette to dine at a fine restaurant, then they will dine at L'Auberge St. Pierre.
_____________
3. If it is Valentine's Day, the Guillaume and Jeanette will dine at L'Auberge St. Pierre.

Rule #4:  Conjunction

1. P
2. Q
_____________
3. P & Q

Example:

1. Charity is playing the piano.
2. Jimmy is trying to play the piano.
_____________
3. Charity is playing the piano and Jimmy is trying to play the piano.

Rule #5:  Simplification

1. P & Q                                                  1. P & Q
_____________                                       _______________
2. P                                                          2. Q

Example:

1. Bill is bagging groceries, and James is stocking the shelves.
_____________
2. James is stocking the shelves.

Rule #6:  Absorption

1. P implies Q
_____________
2. P implies (P & Q)

Example:

1. If Allison goes shopping, she will buy a new top.
_____________
2. If Allison goes shopping, then she will go shopping and buy a new top.

Rule #7:  Addition

1. P
_____________
2. P or Q

Example:

1. Mallory will carefully work on decorating their new apartment.
_____________
2. Either Mallory will carefully work on decorating their new apartment, or she will allow it to degenerate into a pigsty.

Rule #8:  Disjunctive Syllogism

1. P or Q                                                1. P or Q
2. Not P                                                 2. Not Q
_____________                                     ________________
3. Q                                                       3. P

Example:

1. Either Mary will grade the exams herself or she will enlist Jason's aid.
2. She will not grade the exams herself.
_____________
3. She will enlist Jason's aid.

Rule #9:  Constructive Dilemma

1. (P implies Q) & (R implies S)
2. P or R
_____________
3. Q or S

Example;

1. If Jennifer buys dwarf fruit trees, she can make peach pies; and if she plants flowers, the yard will look colorful.
2. Either Jennifer buys dwarf fruit trees or she plants flowers.
_____________
3. Either Jennifer can make peace pies or the yard will look colorful.

Stand firm in Christ,
Chase

Footnote:
Craig, William Lane. Moreland, J.P. Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview. Pages 30-39.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Book Preview: No God But One- Allah or Jesus? by Nabeel Qureshi

About the Author

Nabeel Qureshi is a speaker and author with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. He holds an MD from Eastern Virginia Medical School, an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University, and an MA in religion from Duke University.

About the Book


On account of the superficial points of agreement between Islam and Christianity, many don’t see how tremendously deep the divides between them really are, and fewer still have considered the evidence for each faith. How is Jihad different from the Crusades? Can we know the life of Jesus as well as the life of Muhammad? What reason is there to believe in one faith over the other, and what difference can the Gospel really make?

In No God but One, New York Times bestselling author Nabeel Qureshi takes readers on a global, historical, yet deeply personal journey to the heart of the world’s two largest religions. He explores the claims that each faith makes upon believers’ intellects and lives, critically examining the evidence in support of their distinctive beliefs. Fleshed out with stories from the annals of both religions, No God But One unveils the fundamental, enduring conflict between Islam and Christianity—directly addressing controversial topics like Jihad, the Crusades, Sharia, the Trinity, and more.

Readers of Qureshi’s first book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, will appreciate his careful and respectful comparison of Islam and Christianity. Both religions teach that there is No God but One, but who deserves to be worshiped, Allah or Jesus?

This book comes out August 30, 2016.  You can pre-order your copy here.

You can read our review of Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Friday, June 24, 2016

Saints and Skeptics: Six Poor Reasons for Rejecting the Miraculous


Below is a good response from Saints and Sceptics regarding the rejection of miracles.  The original post can be found here.
Christian theology affirms a number of miracles, most importantly the atonement, the resurrection, the incarnation and the virgin birth. The secular mind dismisses these as tall-tales and myths produced by superstitious, pre-modern minds. However, it seems to us that the modern prejudice against miracles is not very rational.
1) Experience shows that miracles do not occur
This argues in a circle. The Christian asserts that he has good testimony that a miracle has occurred. The sceptic responds, “that can’t be true because human experience shows that miracles do not occur.” But the Christian has just cited evidence that this is not the case: the Christian is claiming that he has evidence that some humans have experienced a miracle!
It is true that human experience establishes that miracles are, at the very least, rare. But relying on our experience of what usually happens can lead to terrible mistakes.  “This medicine has never harmed patients in the past; therefore it will not hurt anyone tomorrow; these buildings have withstood all earthquakes until now; therefore they will withstand the next earthquake.” We should always be open to evidence of the unexpected. Sometimes that evidence can tell us that an unrepeatable, unprecedented event has occurred!
2) Science shows that miracles are impossible!
It is true that miracles like the virgin birth are naturally impossible, but who ever thought otherwise? Christians claim that the resurrection is a supernatural event. The laws of nature are just mathematical descriptions of how nature normally behaves. But suppose there’s more to reality than the natural world. Suppose the reason the universe behaves in an ordered, law-like manner is that the universe has a rational creator.
In that case, the behaviour of the universe would be predictable and we would have a good knowledge of the laws that govern the Universe.  But, on occasion, God do something new, to bring about an event which normally does not happen in the day to day running of the Universe. After all, isn’t it possible that God could have reason to do something extraordinary in his universe now and then? Couldn’t God cause an exception to the laws of nature?
3) If we believe in one supernatural event we might as well believe in Santa and flying reindeer!
It’s possible to believe in a miracle (say the resurrection) and to be extremely sceptical about most reports of paranormal activity. Miracles are not impossible, but they are unusual (in the sense that they do not occur frequently). We should expect miracles to be rare and to be events that God would have a good reason to bring about. Indeed, miracles lose their significance if they are not exceptional events. So we would not expect every miracle report to be true. The Christian world-view insists that we should not uncritically accept every miracle claim.
What about Krishna and Buddha? The only way to determine whether a miracle has occurred is by a detailed study of the relevant evidence. Merely pointing out that different religions have different miracle claims is beside the point. The question is: what is the evidence for these miracle claims? Do all the religions have equally good evidence that their central, defining, most important miracles occurred? Here we would suggest that the evidence for Jesus’ miracles – and especially the miracle of the resurrection – is unparalleled.
4) But surely miracles are so improbable, so extraordinary, that no amount of evidence could justify believing a miracle had occurred?
All sorts of events can be very improbable before relevant evidence is taken into account, but highly probable afterwards. Unique historical events may be extremely improbable in the absence of evidence, but accepted on the basis of fairly mundane evidence. Physicists have never observed proton decay despite all their attempts and believe that it must be exceedingly improbable that a given observed proton will decay; but they also believe that evidence could show that it had in fact decayed (otherwise they wouldn’t spend time trying to observe the phenomenon).
Or consider this thought experiment: suppose my friend John claims that he has inherited billions of dollars from an eccentric Russian oligarch. This billionaire made John his sole beneficiary after he had chosen John’s name at random from a phone-book, which was itself chosen at random.This seems like a tall tale; it seems fair to say that it is very probably false. Oligarchs typically don’t act this way and, even if they did, it is very improbable that John’s name would be chosen at random.
However, the next week John arrives at my house driving a new BMW. He then shows me a newspaper which has a picture of him at his new Russian mansion.  Later I see reports of John’s good luck on the national news; all these reports confirm John’s testimony about the eccentric billionaire. All this evidence would be very improbable if John’s story was false, but is just the kind of evidence I would expected if he was telling the truth. This is sufficient to overcome the initial improbability of John’s tale being true.
Someone might object that this story does not help the case for miracles because a miracle involves a supernatural event. John’s tale does not involve a supernatural agent. But this objection would amount to a stubborn refusal to examine any evidence that could overturn the initial improbability of a miracle having occurred. The objection assumes that miracles are impossible; that assumes that there is no God.
5) You can’t believe in miracles unless you already believe in God.
There is no reason in principle to think that evidence for miracles is impossible. Suppose someone thinks (as almost all atheists do) that God’s existence is improbable, but not impossible. Such a person would  consider a miracle to be extremely improbable; but evidence can completely overturn a low probability. Evidence for a miracle could in turn increase the probability of God’s existence and so provide evidence for God. (In the same way that evidence of Tom’s inheritance made the existence of the Russian oligarch seem more probable!)
6) There is no way to tell from the historical record if a miracle has occurred. 
Ask yourself two questions. One: would this be the sort of evidence that I would expect if a miracle had occurred?  Two: is there a good non-miraculous explanation for this evidence? There could be situations where the key witnesses were extremely unlikely to have been fooled or mistaken. If the evidence is more likely given the truth of the miracle then you have good evidence that a miracle has occurred.
A large enough number of independent, reliable witnesses (even if they are only partially reliable) to a miracle will result in the miracle being more probable than the witnesses being mistaken. If a dozen journalists, a dozen doctors, a dozen police officers and a dozen members of the Skeptical Society all testify under oath that they witnessed a “Holy Man” part the waters of a river, and we find no evidence of deceit or illusion, we should take their testimony very seriously.
Of course, hypothetical scenarios and thought experiments of this kind do not show that miracles have ever occurred.  However, they do undermine the idea that there is some sort of problem with gathering evidence for miracles in principle. It is also worth noting that the evidence for one important miracle, the resurrection, is stronger and more subtle than a simple appeal to eyewitness testimony. No one is arguing that some historically reliable documents report a resurrection, and that we should therefore believe that a resurrection occurred.
The case for the resurrection of Jesus Christ depends on various well-supported facts. Not one of these facts is supernatural in character and each can be established by normal historical methodology. The case for the resurrection is that it provides a much better explanation of these (and other) facts than any purely natural explanation. And it really is much, much better, not least because there are no plausible natural explanations on offer.
Rather, the historical method is used to establish certain facts, and a miracle is inferred as the best explanation of those facts. Here we can focus on 18 facts:
1. Jesus was put to death by crucifixion. This was a shameful death which should have devastated the disciples and ended Jesus’ movement.
2. His body was buried in an identifiable tomb (Joseph of Arimethea’s).
3. A few days later a group of women followers claimed that Jesus’ tomb was empty.
4. It would have been more convenient for the Church if this discovery had been made by men (whose testimony was considered more reliable) and by one of the early heroes of the faith (like Stephen or Cleopas).
5. The disciples were not expecting Jesus to be resurrected. Jews had many other ways of conceiving life after death: the disciples could have claimed to have seen Jesus’ angel, or his Spirit in heaven, or that Jesus had been translated into a “star”. It was decidedly odd to claim he was resurrected from an identifiable tomb.
6. Multiple appearances took place in which many people who had known Jesus well believed they had seen him alive again.
7. Paul, who initially persecuted the early Christians, became a follower of Jesus as a result of believing he had seen the risen Jesus.
8. James, the brother of Jesus, who was not a follower of Jesus before the crucifixion became a follower afterwards. He also became a leader in the church in Jerusalem and was put to death for his faith.
9. The Christian movement started in Jerusalem, where Jesus had been crucified, shortly after the crucifixion.
10. The message of the early Christians focused on the death and resurrection of Jesus. “Resurrection” could only mean that Jesus’ body had been raised from the dead.
11. The early Christians met on the first day of the week, and not on the Jewish Sabbath. Something about the Sabbath was significant to the first Christians.
12. The early Christian church had a highly exalted view of Jesus.
13. The early Christians were willing to die for their faith.
14. There was no attempt to venerate Jesus’ tomb.
15. Jewish apologetic claimed that the disciples stole the body; so Jewish critics agreed that the tomb was identifiable and empty.
16. The early church grew in a Hellenistic context that would have been hostile to the idea of bodily resurrection. Gentile philosophers wanted to escape the confines of the body; they didn’t want to be trapped in their bodies forever!
17. It is unlikely that the later Church invented the story of the empty tomb.”Bodily resurrection” would mainly have impressed Palestinian Jews, and not later Hellenistic Christians (who struggled with the idea that they would have resurrection bodies too). So the preaching of a resurrection could only have started with the first Jewish Christians in Palestine.
18. It is highly unlikely that the disciples stole Jesus’s body to keep Jesus’ movement going. If they wanted to venerate Jesus’ memory athey could just have said that they had had visions of Jesus’ “spirit” or “angel”. 
Some explanation of these facts is sought; and it seems that the only adequate explanation is that God raised Jesus from the dead.
And, if we have good reason to believe that the resurrection occurred, then we should be more open to testimony of other miracles involving Jesus.
God Bless,

Thursday, June 23, 2016

G.K. Chesterton on Skepticism

“It is ludicrous to suppose that the more sceptical we are the more we see good in everything. It is clear that the more we are certain what good is, the more we shall see good in everything.”1

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad








Footnote:
1. G.K. Chesterton, Heretics, as quoted here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Blog Series: Christian Thinkers 101 by Kenneth Samples

It is vital that Christians understand their history, but unfortunately many do not study it.  The task can be daunting.  Where does one start? Philosopher Kenneth Samples has made getting started simple.  He has been offering a series on his blog titled "Christian Thinkers 101."

He explains:

"This series, 'Christian Thinkers 101,' provides a snapshot of some of the faith’s key theologians and apologists and their important books and ideas."1

These posts are a great way for believers to get acquainted with the faith's deep intellectual heritage and the thinkers who have framed some of our key arguments.

The posts in this series thus far are as follows:

Christian Thinkers 101: A Crash Course on St. Augustine

Christian Thinkers 101: A Crash Course on C. S. Lewis

Christian Thinkers 101: A Crash Course on Blaise Pascal

Christian Thinkers 101: A Crash Course on St. Anselm

Christian Thinkers 101: A Crash Course on St. Athanasius

Christian Thinkers 101: A Crash Course on St. Thomas Aquinas

Christian Thinkers 101: A Crash Course on Jonathan Edwards

Christian Thinkers 101: A Crash Course on Søren Kierkegaard



Christian Thinkers 101: A Crash Course on John Calvin

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Article: 30 Things You Can Do This Summer to Deepen Your Kids’ Faith by Natasha Crain

Natasha Crain continues to write some of the most unique and creative posts on the topics of apologetics and parenting.  In this featured post, she offers 30 things that parents can do with their children this summer to help them deepen their Christian convictions.

Some of my favorites include:


- Schedule a “questions night”—a time for your family to get together and discuss any questions your kids have about God. Here’s how we do that in our family. Don’t just do it once! Do it throughout the summer, and hopefully beyond.

- Have your kids interview a nonbeliever. This could be a family member or friend. Help them come up with some questions, then discuss the responses later.

- Choose a news story with a faith angle to talk about. The sky’s the limit here. The Christian Post has a ton of material to consider.

- Read or watch a debate between a Christian and a nonbeliever. Debates make for great discussion opportunities with older kids. Here’s a debate on the existence of God you can use, and here’s one on the reliability of the Bible.

- Print an internet meme to discuss. Google “religion memes,” click on the search results for images, and you’ll see all kinds of discussion-worthy topics.


Also, if you haven't read Natasha's new book Keeping Your Kids on God's Side, I highly recommend it.  You can read our review here.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Importance of a Father



Stand firm in Christ and Happy Father's Day!

Chase

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Video: Why Does God Seem So Hidden? by Sean McDowell


Why doesn't God make His existence more clear? Has God actually revealed Himself? Sean briefly addresses these questions and more.

For more from Sean McDowell, go here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Friday, June 17, 2016

Pastor Stephen J. Bedard on Apologetics in the Pulpit

"While the Church has focused on making church more enjoyable and easier for seekers to transition into…Atheists and other skeptics have become predators of our weak members. They have intentionally sought to weaken and even destroy the faith of Christians. And it is working. While pastors have been avoiding apologetics because of the excuse of not being able to argue people into the kingdom, ill-equipped Christians are being picked off. It does not matter if you enjoy apologetics. You have to decide what you are going to do. You may be able to love people into the church but you can not love doubt away. You need to do more than fill pews, you need to disciple and equip in such a way that your people will not fall at the first skeptical blog post, documentary or book."

Amen!

To learn more about Stephen J. Bedard, go here.

Courage and Godspeed,

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Bertrand Russell and a Universe without God

Many of the so-called "New Atheists" proudly proclaim the virtues of atheism and assert that humanity would be better off if they broke free from the shackles of belief in God.  As philosopher Ed Feser pointed out in a recent piece on his blog, the New Atheists "seem in general more inclined toward delusional happy-talk of the kind indulged in by Richard Dawkins when he opined that a world without religion could be “paradise on earth… a world ruled by enlightened rationality… a much better chance of no more war… less hatred… less waste of time.”1

Feser goes on to argue that "Old Atheists" such as Friedrich Nietzsche were under not such delusions and well understood the consequences should humanity no longer believe in God.

Feser's piece brought to mind the famous unbeliever Bertrand Russell who was very honest about how one should view the world if God does not exist.  Russell wrote:

"Even more purposeless, more void of meaning, is the world, which Science presents for our belief.  Amid such a world, if anywhere, our ideals henceforward must find a home.  That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms...destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man's achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins...Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul's habitation henceforth be safely built."2

Nietzsche and Russell understood that if God does not exist, we have no ultimate significance, value, or purpose 3 and they were honest enough to admit it.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnotes:
1. Ed Feser, "Adventures in Old Atheism Part I- Nietzsche," June 13, 2016.
2. Bertrand Russell, Mysticism and Logic as quoted by Mary Poplin in Is Reality Secular?, p. 45.
3. For those who want to learn more, please see William Lane Craig's article "The Absurdity of Life Without God" here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Video: Science, Scientism, and the Knowledge of God by Peter S. Williams


This video features an excellent talk by philosopher Peter S. Williams regarding the existence of God, the limits of science and some of the arguments made by the so-called "new atheists" such as Lawrence Krauss and Richard Dawkins.

I encourage viewers not only to assess the arguments and evidence presented by Williams, but also take note of the manner in which he delivers this talk.  He presents his arguments clearly, represents his opponents fairly, and his conclusions are modest.  This is evident throughout.  Apologists or those who simply desire to present their arguments more persuasively would do well to learn from Williams and model his approach.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Ontologi-Kalam-alogical Argument

The more I learn about Tim Stratton and Free Thinking Ministries, the more I appreciate their work.  Stratton is a logician who has a gift for presenting arguments in a new, fresh way.  Last week we featured his Free Thinking Argument.  This week, I wanted to highlight a clever argument Tim devised by combining the Ontological Argument and the Kalam Cosmological Argument.  He calls it the "Ontologi-Kalam-alogical" Argument!

It is as follows:

1- It is logically possible that the cause of the universe the Kalam argues for exists (in a possible world).
2- If it is possible that the Kalam’s cause of the universe exists, then this cause exists necessarily in some possible world.
3- If this cause exists necessarily in some possible world, then this cause exists necessarily in all possible worlds (i.e., mathematical truths, logical laws, shape definitions, etc).
4- If this cause exists in all possible worlds, then this cause exists in the actual world.
5- If this cause of the universe exists in the actual world, then this cause of the universe (God) exists.

You can see how Stratton unpacks it here!  

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Monday, June 13, 2016

What is Philosophy?


Philosophy is the attempt to think hard about life, the world as a whole and the things that matter most in order to secure knowledge and wisdom about these matters. Accordingly, philosophy may be defined as the attempt to think rationally and critically about life's most important questions in order to obtain knowledge and wisdom about them.

Stand firm in Christ,
Chase

Footnote:
Craig, William Lane and Moreland, J.P.  Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview. Page 13.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Mourning Orlando, Longing for Truth and Love

I took a nap when I got home from church this afternoon.  When I awoke, I grabbed my phone and checked the news.  I was horrified to learn that a Muslim terrorist shot over one hundred people last evening in Orlando and killed 50 of them.  My heart breaks for the victims and their families.

I have no desire to politicize this event or use it to make a point. There are 50 people created in the image of God dead because of this tragedy.  It is difficult to comprehend such evil.

How should the Christian respond?  I encourage you to take the time to read former Muslim Nabeel Qureshi's response to this abhorrent event.

You can find it here.  Please remember to pray for the families of the victims.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Sunday Praise: "I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous)" Shane and Shane


Stand firm in Christ,
Chase

Saturday, June 11, 2016

What Is The Most Important Question In Apologetics? with Lenny Esposito


For more from Lenny Esposito, go here.

For more from the "One Minute Apologist" Bobby Conway, go here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Friday, June 10, 2016

Ten Quick Responses to Atheistic Claims





The original source of the content below can be found here.

You don't have to read hundreds of books before you can discuss your faith with an atheist. Sometimes claims and questions that are just short soundbites can be answered just as quickly. At the London Evangelists' Conference in October of 2014, Professor John Lennox offered some quick responses to some common claims from atheists.
1) You don't believe in Zeus, Thor and all the other gods. I just go one god more than you, and reject the Christian God.
The problem with this idea is that 'gods' such as Zeus and Thor are not comparable with the biblical understanding of God.
"There is a vast distinction between all of the Ancient near eastern gods and the God of the Bible," said Prof Lennox. "They are products of the primeval mass and energy of the universe. The God of the Bible created the heavens and the earth".
2) Science has explained everything, and it doesn't include God.
Science cannot answer certain kinds of questions, such as 'what is ethical?' and 'what is beautiful?' Even when it comes to questions about the natural world, which science does explore and can sometimes answer, there are different types of explanations for different things.
"God no more competes with science as an explanation of the universe than Henry Ford competes with the law of internal combustion as an explanation of the motor car," says Prof Lennox.
3) Science is opposed to God.
There are certain conceptions of a 'god' that might be opposed to science, but not the Christian God. There might be certain kinds of 'gods' that are invented to explain things we don't understand, but they're not Christian.
"If we're being offered a choice between science and god... it is not a biblical concept of god," said Prof Lennox. "The biblical God is not a god of the gaps, but a God of the whole show. The bits we do understand [through science] and the bits we don't.
"Among many leading thinkers, their idea of god is thoroughly pagan. If you define god to be a god of the gaps, then you have got to offer a choice between science and god."
4) You can't prove that there is a God.
This kind of statement ignores that there are different kinds of 'proof'.
"Can you prove that there is a God?" asked Prof Lennox. "In the mathematical sense no, but proving anything is very difficult. The word proof has two meanings. There's the rigorous meaning in maths that is very difficult to do and rare. But then there's the other meaning – beyond reasonable doubt".
That's the kind of 'proof' we can present: arguments to bring someone beyond reasonable doubt. For example, rational arguments such as those from philosophers Alvin Plantinga and William Lane Craig, the personal experience of Christians, and the witness of the gospel accounts in the Bible.
5) Faith is believing without any evidence.
Christian belief has never been about having no evidence: the gospels were written to provide evidence, as the beginning of Luke's attests. The end of John's gospel says, "These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name."
But believing without evidence is a common notion of 'faith' at present. "This definition is in the dictionary and believed by many," said Prof Lennox. "So, when we talk about faith in Christ, they think that's because there's no evidence. [John's gospel shows that] Christianity is an evidence-based faith."
6) Faith is a delusion. I'd no more believe in God than I would in the Easter Bunny, Father Christmas or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
These ideas have been made famous by people such as Prof Richard Dawkins. The only thing they are good for is mockery.
"Statements by scientists are not always statements of science," said Prof Lennox. "Stephen Hawking said, "religion is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark". I said, "atheism is a fairy story for people afraid of the light".
"Neither of those statements proves anything at all. They're all reversible. What lies behind all these delusion claims is the Freudian idea of wish fulfilment [that we believe what we hope to be true.] This works brilliantly providing there is no god. But if there is a god, then atheism is wish fulfilment."
7) Christianity claims to be true, but there loads of denominations and they all disagree with each other, so it must be false.

 Why does the existence of denominations imply Christianity is false? It might imply that Christians have very different personalities and cultures – or even that Christians aren't good at getting on with each other – but not that Christianity isn't true.
"There are all kinds of different kinds of teams in football, but they all play football," said Prof Lennox.
8) The Bible is immoral.
If you want to question the morality of the Bible, what basis does that morality have? There can be a serious contradiction within atheist criticisms. Dawkins wrote: "In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference."
If this is true, then why does he question the morality of anything? "Dawkins says faith is evil," said Prof Lennox. "But at the same time he abolishes the categories of good and evil. That doesn't make sense."
9) Surely you don't take the Bible literally?
Some atheists (and a few Christians) have a very black and white idea of how to interpret the Bible. You either have to take it 'literally' or chuck it away, they think. That ignores the reality of language and how it reflects truth.
"Jesus said 'I'm the door'," said Prof Lennox. "Is Jesus a door like a door over there? No. He is not a literal door, but he is a real door into a real experience of God. Metaphor stands for reality. The word 'literal' is useless."
10) What is the evidence for God?

You can debate the existence of God until the cows come home. It can be very interesting, especially when you go into the detail and explore the subject in depth. But for an atheist, they might be missing the point or avoiding the real issue. Prof Lennox advises to ask them the most important question:
"Suppose I could give [evidence for God], would you be prepared right now, to repent and trust Christ?"
Feel free to share your thoughts on these questions or provide your own that you have found helpful.
God Bless,

Thursday, June 09, 2016

J.P. Moreland on Sharing the Gospel

Today, we share the gospel as a means of addressing felt needs. We give testimonies of changed lives and say to people if they want to become better parents or overcome depression or loneliness, that Jesus is their answer. This approach to evangelism is inadequate for two reasons. First, it does not reach people who may be out of touch with their feelings. Second, it invites the response, “Sorry, I do not have a need.” Have you noticed how no one responded to Paul in this manner? In Acts 17-20, he based his preaching on the fact that the gospel is true and reasonable to believe. He reasoned and tried to persuade people to intelligently accept Jesus.


Courage and Godspeed,

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

The Argument from Ultimate Justice

Here is another interesting argument from Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli's Pocket Handbook of Christian Apologetics:

Since justice is often not done in the short run in human life on earth, either (1) justice is done in the long run-in which case there must be a 'long run,' a life after death-or else (2) this absolute demand we make for moral meaning and ultimate justice is not met by reality but is a mere subjective quirk of the human psyche-in which case there is no foundation in reality for our deepest moral instincts, no objective validity or justification for justice.  The statement 'I want justice' only tells something about us, like 'I feel sick,' not about objective reality, what really is or what really ought to be.

The argument does not prove life after death simply and absolutely, but it shows what price must be paid to deny it: the price of moral seriousness.  Once we stop believing that morality is nothing more than subjective feelings and wishes, once we reduce justice from a cosmic law to a private preference, we no longer see it as binding or fear to disobey it when it is inconvenient.  As Dostoyevsky notes, 'If there is no immortality, everything is permitted.'"1

What do you think of the argument?  Let us know in the comments!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
1. Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, Pocket Handbook of Christian Apologetics, p. 92.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

The Free Thinking Argument




In this short video, Tim Stratton of Free Thinking Ministries unpacks why he believes it is implausible to believe that an atheistic naturalist can actually be a free thinker.

His argument is as follows:

1. If naturalism is true, the immaterial human soul does not exist.

2. If the soul does not exist, libertarian free will does not exist.

3. If libertarian free will does not exist, rationality and knowledge do not exist.

4. Rationality and knowledge exist.

5. Therefore, libertarian free will exists.

6. Therefore, the soul exists.

7. Therefore, naturalism is false.

8. The best explanation of the existence of the soul is God.

For those who want to learn more about the argument, checkout this summary by Tim.

What do you think of his argument?  Please feel free to share in the comments!

For more from Tim Stratton, go here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Monday, June 06, 2016

Something Happened


Look, the one thing you can't do (not with any intellectual honesty, anyway) is pretend that nothing happened. Clearly something did, because it has created shockwaves around the world and throughout history for two thousand years.  Even just in the lives of those disciples, whatever it was that happened cause them to rearrange the very structure of their worldview. They began to believe that this crucified Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah of Jewish hope, that he was the Son of God, the vindicated, sin-bearing Lamb of God, the first fruits of a new creation that would begin in his own redeemed people, the King of kings who would one day save his people finally and forever and remake the world in a new birth reflective of and flowing from his own resurrection life. Because they believed these things, they rearranged their lives so that they could proclaim their beliefs-abandoning careers, leaving homes, and ultimately refusing to back away from those beliefs even as (according to tradition) they were, one by one, beheaded, crucified, impaled with spears, flayed, and stoned.

Something happened to cause all that.

Stand firm in Christ,
Chase

Footnote:
Gilbert, Greg. Why Trust the Bible? Locale 1444 of 2099.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Video: A Universe from Nothing, Therefore God Exists!


Here is another excellent video from Inspiring Philosophy.  The claims of physicist Lawrence Krauss are examined.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

HT: Atheism Epic Failure via twitter


Friday, June 03, 2016

Alvin Plantinga on Science and Christianity

"Modern western empirical science originated and flourished in the bosom of Christian theism and originated nowhere else...The fact is it was Christian Europe that fostered, promoted, and nourished modern science.  All the great names of early western science, furthermore, Nicholas Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Issac Newton, Robert Boyle, John Wilkins, Roger Cotes and many others-all were serious believers in God.  Indeed the twentieth-century physicist C.F. von Weizacker goes so far as to say, 'In this sense, I call modern science a legacy of Christianity.'"1



Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
1. As quoted by Mary Poplin in Is Reality Secular?, p. 54-55.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Video: Why Sincerity of Belief is Not Enough with J. Warner Wallace


In this short video clip J. Warner Wallace explains why it is so important that we are able to explain and defend our Christian convictions.  We ignore him at our peril.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

The Antimaterialist Self-Contradiction Argument

Here is another interesting argument from Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli's Pocket Handbook of Christian Apologetics:

A computer is not reliable if it has been programmed by chance rather than by rational design (e.g., by hailstones failing at random on its keyboard).

The human brain and nervous system are a computer.  They may be much more, but they are not less than a computer.  So the human brain is not reliable if it has been programmed by mere chance.

But if materialism is true, if the soul is only the brain, if there is no spirit, no human soul and no God, then the brain has been programmed by mere chance.  All the programming our brains have received, through heredity (genetics) and environment (society), is ultimately only unintelligent, undesigned, random chance, brute facts, physical causes, not logical reasons.

Therefore materialism cannot be true.  It refutes itself.  It destroys its own credentials.  If the brain is nothing but blind atoms, we have no reason to trust it when it tells us about anything, including itself and atoms.  Thus, if there is nothing but atoms, we have no reason to believe there is nothing but atoms.

If materialism is not true, this means there is immaterial reality too.  And that immaterial reality-usually called spirit, or soul-need not be subject to the laws of material reality, including the law of morality.1

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
1. Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, Pocket Handbook of Christian Apologetics, p. 91-92.